Outside of Russia, little is known of Roman Abramovich’s personal life and in Britain, his second wife Irina had kept a relatively low profile as far as the media were concerned. All that was to change however when she and her husband became entangled in their high profile divorce back in the mid 2000’s.
Irina Abramovich was an air hostess who was to meet her future husband before he amassed his huge fortune.
Born Irina Vyacheslavovna Malandina, she became the second Mrs Abramovich in 1991 and together the couple went on to have five children together.
The cult of celebrity
When Roman Abramovich became the new owner of Chelsea football club, the focus for his family switched to Great Britain where certain areas of the media have an obsession with highlighting a celebrity’s every move.
In the main however, the couple managed to stay under the radar of the gossip columns in tabloid newspapers. Unlike many others in the media spotlight, you wouldn’t see the Abramovich’s agreeing to a four page spread in one of the high profile celebrity magazines. Little was reported concerning Irina Abramovich other than the suggestion that she was a “frenetic shopper”, drawn by the major labels such as Gucci, Prada and Armani.
Once again, the circumstances leading up to the couple’s divorce are also shrouded in an element of mystery. The first sign of any trouble as far as the general public was concerned came when Roman Abramovich was seen in the company of Daria Zhukova, the former girlfriend of tennis player Marat Safin.
Speculation followed, until the Abramovich’s made the following statement,
“Mr and Mrs Abramovich have divorced in Russia on a consensual basis and have agreed terms in respect of arrangements for their children and a financial settlement. Mr Abramovich’s corporate interests, including Chelsea Football Club, are not affected by the divorce proceedings. Mr and Mrs Abramovich would appreciate it if the family’s privacy would be respected.”
As far as the British media were concerned, Mr and Mrs Abramovich had suddenly become very interesting indeed and the one question that everyone was asking involved the amount of the divorce settlement.
The Daily Telegraph suggested that had Irina Abramovich filed for divorce in the UK then she could be entitled to around half of her ex husband’s £11 billion pound fortune. Instead, the newspaper claimed that she may have to settle for as ‘little’ as £1 billion.
The conjecture continued but ultimately it is reported that Irina Abramovich accepted a figure of $330 million in full and final settlement in 2007.
The present day
Roman Abramovich and Daria Zhukova went on to have a son, Roman’s sixth child, and they remain together.
As for Irina Abramovich, without her famous husband by her side she seems to have faded away from the media spotlight one again. While the newspapers in the UK devote a large proportion of their coverage to celebrity gossip, Roman Abramovich is a powerful man with a dislike for such trivialities and this is the major reason why his private life and that of his second wife Irina has been kept private over the course of their 16 year marriage.